Samaritas seeks donations for school backpacks for needy kids

Samaritas seeks donations for school backpacks for needy kids
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No one is sure what the next school year is going to look like. What is less of a variable is kids will need supplies, and many young Detroiters can’t get them.

The backpacks will be distributed to youth in Samaritas’ care, including foster kids, youth who live in family homeless shelters, children in family preservation programs and those who live in  affordable living communities.

Samaritas is working to fix that with its annual backpack drive. The organization is asking people to donate 1,400 backpacks and the school supplies that belong inside.

The drive runs through August 17, and your help is needed.

Like everything else these days, the COVID crisis has affected donations.  To keep everyone safe, there will be no in-person donations this year.

Instead, Good Samaritans can purchase off the group’s Amazon’s Wish list. The items will be shipped to Samaritas’ Detroit office at 8131 E. Jefferson Ave. Monetary donations are also accepted here.

The backpacks will be distributed to the youth in Samaritas’ care including foster kids, youth who live in its family homeless shelters, children in family preservation programs and those who live in its affordable living communities.

The drive is so important, not just to give the children school supplies, but also to build their self-esteem. As Samaritas says “showing up on the first day of school without the proper tools can make a child look and feel different from classmates, which can cause embarrassment and stress.” The backpack program helps children in already challenging situations overcome those barriers.

The backpack program gives children the tools they need to overcome barriers and be successful in school.

“The uncertainty of how schools will open is worrisome for all of us,” says Kevin Van Den Bosch, chief operating officer, Samaritas. “The anxiety is even worse for our clients who were already struggling to make ends meet. Many are not in a position to give their kids what they need for school.”

He also points out families in the Samaritas refugee and New American programs have a difficult time due to language barriers and limited access to electronic devices that can help children interact with online school programs.

If you are donating please keep in mind the backpacks are going to a wide array of kids.

For the younger ones please check out themes like Paw Patrol and Marvel, and keep things gender neutral for the older students.

Supplies for the packs and the corresponding grade levels include:

  • ball point pens, in black blue and red (middle and high school)
  • calculators (middle school)
  • colored pencils (elementary)
  • crayons (elementary)
  • erasers (elementary, middle, and high school)
  • glue and glue sticks (elementary)
  • highlighters (middle and high school)
  • index cards (elementary middle and high school)
  • loose leaf paper (wide and college-ruled)
  • markers (elementary)
  • spiral bound notebooks (elementary middle and high school)
  • 2 pencils (elementary, middle, and high school)
  • pencil sharpeners (elementary, middle, and high school)
  • pencil pouches and/or boxes (elementary and middle school)
  • Sharpies (middle and high school)
  • pocket folders (elementary, middle, and high school)
  • rulers (middle and high school)
  • scissors (regular and safety scissors) (elementary school)
  • three-ring binders (middle and high school)

The packs will be filled with the supplies needed to start the new school year right by volunteers from First Presbyterian Church of Warren and Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Southfield. The donations will be sent to 11 different Samaritas offices across Michigan, which offer child and family services.

“We want to make sure the kids in our network are ready for any educational platform they may face this fall. Any donations to help us meet our goal will be helpful,” says Van Den Bosch.

Whatever the near future of education has in store, kids in need will be able to face it head on … with your help.

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